Today was another wonderful experience during my field visit to Tarwadih, one of our target villages’, part of the Community Based Rehabilitation Project. Our Physiotherapist and I had a meeting with parents of Children with Disabilities in the village. The challenging task was to get people to come together. But I was surprised to see most of the parents had turned up obviously with a lot of expectations.
The meeting was one of the firsts to facilitate a caregiver’s support group in the village. The meeting started and the discussions trickled into the difficulties faced by parents. As the parents shared, there were issues that we had heard before, worry about the future, physical condition of children, lack of awareness and many more. The one sharing that caught my attention was from a mother; her daughter Fareen is 12 and is like any other girl her age, playful and yet shy and smiles sweetly as her mother mentions that her daughter has Speech and Hearing Impairment. She continues very softly that her main concern about her daughter was that she continuously got into fights with other kids, her siblings, the neighbourhood children, children at school and this affected her relationship with other families. This was an unusual sharing and I kept wondering until it struck me that, the daughter couldn’t communicate and probably got frustrated and hence the fights. I can’t imagine being unable to talk, express what’s on my mind. The place I live has very bad cell phone signal and every day I hear almost one person complaining about it including myself. The inability to communicate cripples our lives and frustrates us. But unable to communicate for life… that’s unimaginable. I could only sympathise with her. Of course I would never know how she really feels.
Although I had come across many people with speech and hearing impairment, this affected me because they had come to the meeting with a lot of expectations. But since we do not have the expertise,there is little we can do for her physical condition or her schooling and more importantly her communication.
Circumstances and opportunities break or make people. Many people with Speech and Hearing Impairments learn to communicate and continue to live their lives without any barriers. . But for children like Fareen continue to be in unfavourable circumstances hidden in remote villages struggling to meet their basic needs and lack even the most basic opportunities. So the big question arises, do we just give up? Her mother didn’t. She came to us with a glint of hope in her eyes. It’s her hope that gives us the courage to look beyond and find ways to break through the helpless silence.
I am not exactly sure how much we will be able to do but hope that whatever we do would make a difference in Fareen’s life and many, many more children like her.
May God Bless…..